Virginia College Presidents Come Out Against Obama’s Ratings System

Citing three broad concerns, 50 private- and public-college presidents in Virginia have signed a letter objecting to President Obama’s proposed college-ratings system. The objections are well worn in a debate that has raged for nearly a year. They are:

  1. The ratings system will discourage institutions from enrolling low-income and part-time students.
  2. The proposal places too much emphasis on graduates’ earnings.
  3. Existing data measuring graduation rates are flawed and unfit to be used in the rating…

Why We Can’t Stop Talking About College Rankings

College rankings: the concept that has launched a thousand college trips, that’s had so many words spilled in its defense, in opposition, or in ambivalence. The machine churns on today, with Money magazine on Monday releasing a national ranking of colleges, using for its metrics all things dollars and cents. For details on the list, read the Chronicle reporter Eric Hoover’s post, which examines the ranking’s pursuit of objectivity.

But what about the industry’s undeniable appeal? Why do I (a col…


For Business School’s No. 1 Ranking, Big Asterisk Looms

When a study found that the business school at the University of Missouri at Kansas City boasted the world’s No. 1 program in innovation-management research, officials from the chancellor on down basked publicly in the news.

Now an investigation by The Kansas City Star has cast substantial doubt on that glowing result.

The two authors of the 2011 paper, who were visiting scholars at the school when they did the study, apparently structured it to ensure the top ranking, the newspaper reports. Adm…


For-Profit Bridgepoint’s Business Practices Are Under Investigation

Bridgepoint Education Inc., the for-profit higher-education company that runs Ashford University, is the subject of two new investigations over its business practices, according to a corporate filing made on Friday.

The Massachusetts attorney general’s office notified Bridgepoint on Monday that it would investigate whether the company had complied with the state’s consumer-protection laws. The office has requested information on students and complaints from the company dating to 2006.

The U.S. S…


Corinthian Agrees to Make Online Disclosures to Prospective Students

Corinthian Colleges Inc. has agreed to warn prospective students online of its plans to sell most of its campuses, the San Jose Mercury News reports. The company’s move was in response to legal action by Attorney General Kamala D. Harris of California.

A judge ruled this month that the for-profit educator did not—at least temporarily—have to make such disclosures to prospective students, and the judge scheduled a hearing for August to consider the matter.

But the company has now agreed to post “…


Alabama State Trustees Targeted by Governor Are Now Off the Board

Two Alabama State University trustees who had been asked to resign by the state’s governor are now off the board, the Montgomery Advertiser reports. Elton Dean, the board’s chairman, resigned earlier this week. Gov. Robert Bentley removed the board’s vice chairman, Marvin Wiggins, on Friday.

On Tuesday, Mr. Bentley asked the two trustees to resign, having just found out about a proposed amendment that would have diminished the authority of the university’s president.

In his letter to Mr. Wiggins


Penn State Names New Athletic Director

Sandy Barbour will become athletic director at Pennsylvania State University next month, the university announced on Saturday.

Ms. Barbour, 54, the first woman to hold the job, was athletic director at the University of California at Berkeley from 2004 until this past June, when she resigned. During her tenure, the intercollegiate athletic program at Berkeley won a variety of national championships, but she came under criticism because of low graduation rates on the football and men’s basketball…


Listen to an Audio Clip of Ohio State’s Ousted Band Director Cussing Out a Student

While the investigation that led to the firing of Ohio State University’s band director focused on the program’s “sexualized” culture, it also addressed allegations that he had been “abusive” toward students on two occasions. Jonathan Waters, who was fired on Thursday, said in an interview with investigators, “In all my years, I’ve never yelled, screamed, or cursed” at a student.

An audio recording, made secretly by a student and released by the university on Friday, suggests otherwise, reports


After 5 Weeks, Graduate Student Is Freed From Tajikistan Prison

A Ph.D. student at the University of Toronto has been released from a prison in Tajikistan, The Guardian reports. Alexander Sodiqov, a political scientist and a native of Tajikistan, was detained in June while conducting interviews for a research project.

Mr. Sodiqov was imprisoned on suspicion of espionage, and has promised not to leave the country as authorities investigate. He has denied the allegations.

Canadian researcher Alexander Sodiqov has been released after five weeks in jail in Tajikistan, having signed a statement promising not to leave the country an investigation into his activities continues. Sodiqov, a political science doctoral student at the University of Toronto and a Tajik national, first traveled to his home country in June as part of a University of Exeter research project on conflict management strategies.

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Army War College Will Investigate Plagiarism Accusation Against Senator

The U.S. Army War College said on Thursday that there was “reasonable cause” to refer accusations of plagiarism against a U.S. senator to its Academic Review Board, which has the authority to revoke the graduation status of a former student. The accusations against the senator, John E. Walsh of Montana, a Democrat, were laid out in a lengthy article published on Wednesday in The New York Times.

Senator Walsh, who was appointed to the U.S. Senate this year to fill out an unfinished term, has said he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder from military service in Iraq at the time he wrote and submitted the 14-page paper, a quarter of which the Times said was taken without attribution from other works. The paper was the final requirement for his master’s degree from the War College, a graduate-level institution in Carlisle, Pa., for Army officers selected for leadership training.

The review board, consisting of faculty members, will convene next month to assess the accusations and recommend action to the college, the Times reported.

There have been 8 cases since 1990 for which the Army War College revoked the graduation status of a former student after graduation: 6 for plagiarism and 2 for misconduct. If the plaque bearing graduates’ names has already been hung in front of the college, they have had their name removed from the metal plate.

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